United States Announces Withdrawal From UNESCO, Cites 'Anti-Israel Bias'

VN exits race for UNESCO chief position

Israel has also announced today that they will be quitting the United Nations agency, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision by the U.S. "brave and moral".

UNESCO is a body of the United Nations that promotes worldwide cooperation in education, science, culture and communication, though it is perhaps best known for its designation of "world heritage" sites - locations with particular cultural significance.

Unesco said the withdrawal was a loss to the "UN family" and to multilateralism.

As a permanent observer to the organization, the United States would still be able to voice its opinion about matters to the body, but not vote on issues as a member. The U.S. now owes about $550 million in back payments.

The U.S. will remain an observer in the Paris-based cultural, scientific and educational organization, according to Trend. It cited US belief in "the need for fundamental reform in the organization".

Mr Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel will also withdraw from the agency, which had become a "theatre of the absurd because instead of preserving history, it distorts it".

He says he has ordered Israeli diplomats to prepare Israel's withdrawal from the organization in concert with the Americans.

United States pulls out of the UN's culture and education body.

"UNESCO has become a battlefield for Israel bashing and has disregarded its true role and objective", Danon said.

She said the USA pulling out is a loss for the United Nations and for global alliances.

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The Trump administration has been preparing for a likely withdrawal for months, and a decision was expected before the end of the year, according to United States officials.

The US has a long history of contradictions with UNESCO, an worldwide body that is aimed at promoting a respect for the rule of law and human rights through cultural and scientific collaboration.

The Israel controversy re-ignited this summer after UNESCO named Hebron's city center a Palestinian World Heritage Site. In the US, listed sites include the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall, as well as national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite.

Việt Nam's bid for the leading position of a respectable global organisation such as UNESCO has made evident its commitment to actively contribute to the worldwide community.

The third round saw the breakthrough of French candidate Audrey Azouley, who secured 18 out of 58 votes of the UNESCO Executive Board, sharing top spot with Qatari candidate Hammad bin Al-Kawari.

It's not the first time the US has pulled out of UNESCO: Washington did the same thing in the 1980s because it viewed the agency as mismanaged, corrupt and used to advance Soviet interests.

The US pulled out of Unesco in the 1980s because Washington viewed it as mismanaged and used for political reasons, then rejoined it in 2003.

But in addition to the decision to admit the Palestinians in 2011, it has been the scene of repeated diplomatic flare-ups after Arab countries succeeded in passing a number of resolutions critical of Israel.

"It has nothing to do with the director-general race", a spokesman for the USA mission said.

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